WR, BMC, commuters lock horns over 12-car parking lot

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, in this case Western Railway (WR). While officials claim they want to spruce up a small parking lot — generally used by railway authorities — outside Churchgate station, they say Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) isn’t doing its bit to beautify the space.

Space jam: This minuscule space outside Churchgate station has led to a wrangle involving WR, BMC and train travellers. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

This parking lot is right next to an approach to the station, opposite Café Bharat and next to a public toilet. WR claims that this unpretentious parking lot that has space for around 10 vehicles, apart from a couple of ambulances, is in a sorry state. “Towards the end of this lot, adjacent to a power substation, the road is rather corrugated. Moreover, BMC hasn’t set tiles or pavers, which gives the place an ugly look,” said a senior WR official on condition of anonymity.

Tight squeeze
The situation is problematic even for railway commuters rushing to and from their offices at peak hours. “Railway officials abruptly park their vehicles in that little area and around it, choking the space meant for commuters entering station premises,” said K Verma, member, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh. WR officials claim lack of proper arrangement for parking is the reason why they are forced to plunk their vehicles on the road or on the footpath adjoining the lot, which creates problem for travellers. They also blame slum dwellers for placing their wares in the area, making it risky for them to park their vehicles. “The pavers have been partially installed, while some of the portion is bumpy,” said another official.

Nearly ten days ago, general manager of WR, Mahesh Kumar, personally inspected Churchgate station and this parking lot. Officials though claim it was a routine inspection as they are also planning to add a lift to this eight-storey building, next to the public toilet, for WR employees.

Dark spot
“We are ready to beautify and improve this stretch with our funds,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR, adding, “This is one of the dark spots outside Churchgate station that comes under BMC’s jurisdiction.” BMC officials, however, maintain they haven’t received any intimation from WR on this issue. “I will have to check the status,” said an official from the roads department, who didn’t wish to be named.

Meanwhile, WR authorities are also contemplating extending the glass façade onto the west side of the station building. Officials claim that this will depend on the availability of funds. WR spent nearly Rs 4 crore installing the existing veneer, which was initially opposed by its own employees, as it created lack of ventilation. The design was later changed. 

Manic Monday
>> On Monday, WR services were hit due to a point failure at Virar that disallowed trains to cross tracks
>>  This resulted in delay in services of four trains to and from Virar station, thus causing bunching of trains
>>  Central Railway also saw trouble on Monday afternoon after an overhead cable snapped between Kalyan and Shahad stations
>>  This affected evening peak hour services as trains coming to CST were running late

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